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Origins Available: English, Irish


The history of the name Godfrey begins with the Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. It is derived from the baptismal name for the son of Godfrey. Baptismal names were a form of patronymic surnames, and came from either the religious or vernacular given name traditions. In this case, the patronym was adopted from the personal name of the bearers father.

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The surname Godfrey was first found in Kent. One of the first records of the name was Henricus filius Godefrid who was listed in the Pipe Rolls taken during the reign of King Henry II (1154-1189.) [1]CITATION[CLOSE]
Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
It is generally believed that he was related to William Godefridus of Normandy listed in a census there taken 1180-1198. [2]CITATION[CLOSE]
The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X)
However, the Godfrey variant had many early references including Godfrey the Bearded (c.?997-1069); and his son, Godfrey IV, Duke of Lower Lorraine (died 1706), known as the Hunchback who was assassinated in Vlaardingen; Godfrey of Bouillon ( c. 1060-1100), a medieval Frankish knight, one of the leaders of the First Crusade, Godfrey of Cambrai, the prior of Winchester Abbey from 1082 until his death in 1107; and Godfrey (died 1088), medieval Bishop of Chichester. " In the churchyard [of Woodford, Essex] is a splendid Corinthian column of marble, about forty feet in height, erected to the memory of the Godfrey family, which flourished many years in Kent; also a tomb with a column entirely covered with ivy, of picturesque appearance; and a remarkably fine old yew-tree." [3]CITATION[CLOSE]
Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.

The English language only became standardized in the last few centuries; therefore, spelling variations are common among early Anglo-Saxon names. As the form of the English language changed, even the spelling of literate people's names evolved. Godfrey has been recorded under many different variations, including Godfrey, Godfry, Godfrie, Godfree, Godfery, Godkin and many more.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Godfrey research. Another 197 words (14 lines of text) covering the years 1666, 1273, 1622, 1678, 1642, 1631, 1648, 1714, 1641, 1797 and are included under the topic Early Godfrey History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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Notables of this surname at this time include Sir Edmund Berry Godfrey (1622-1678), English politician, London woodmonger and Justice of the Peace, his unsolved murder was one of the most celebrated historical mysteries; Richard Godfrey...

Another 35 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Godfrey Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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Some of the Godfrey family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 229 words (16 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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For many English families, the political and religious disarray that shrouded England made the far away New World an attractive prospect. On cramped disease-ridden ships, thousands migrated to those British colonies that would eventually become Canada and the United States. Those hardy settlers that survived the journey often went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations in which they landed. Analysis of immigration records indicates that some of the first North American immigrants bore the name Godfrey or a variant listed above:

Godfrey Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • Edward Godfrey who settled in Maine in 1630
  • Peter Godfrey, who arrived in New England in 1631
  • Jo Godfrey, aged 21, arrived in Virginia in 1635
  • Richard Godfrey who settled in Virginia in 1652
  • Elias Godfrey, who arrived in Maryland in 1662
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Godfrey Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Vincent Godfrey, who landed in Virginia in 1701
  • Mary Godfrey, who arrived in Virginia in 1701
  • Fra Godfrey, who arrived in Virginia in 1705
  • William Godfrey, who arrived in America in 1765
  • Sarah Godfrey, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1773
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Godfrey Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • William Godfrey, who arrived in Savanna(h), Georgia in 1806
  • Thomas Godfrey, who landed in New York, NX in 1815
  • Margaret Godfrey, aged 65, landed in New York, NY in 1816
  • Kemp Godfrey, who arrived in New York, NY in 1834
  • Edward Godfrey, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1840
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Godfrey Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century

  • Mr. Ely Godfrey U.E. who arrived at Port Roseway [Shelburne], Nova Scotia on December 13, 1783 was passenger number 463 aboard the ship "HMS Clinton", picked up on November 14, 1783 at East River, New York
  • Mrs. Hannah Godfrey U.E. who arrived at Port Roseway [Shelburne], Nova Scotia on December 13, 1783 was passenger number 539 aboard the ship "HMS Clinton", picked up on November 14, 1783 at East River, New York
  • Miss Mary Godfrey U.E. (b. 1782), aged 1 who arrived at Port Roseway [Shelburne], Nova Scotia on December 13, 1783 was passenger number 40 aboard the ship "HMS Clinton", picked up on November 14, 1783 at East River, New York
  • Miss Mary Godfrey U.E. (b. 1764), aged 19 who arrived at Port Roseway [Shelburne], Nova Scotia on December 13, 1783 was passenger number 601 aboard the ship "HMS Clinton", picked up on November 14, 1783 at East River, New York

Godfrey Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century

  • Richard Godfrey, who arrived in Canada in 1832
  • Newcomb Godfrey, who landed in Canada in 1834

Godfrey Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • John Godfrey, English convict from Devon, who was transported aboard the "Arab" on July 3, 1822, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Austraila
  • Thomas Godfrey, English convict from Bristol, who was transported aboard the "America" on April 4, 1829, settling in New South Wales, Australia
  • Elizabeth Godfrey arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Prince George" in 1838
  • John Godfrey, English convict from Somerset, who was transported aboard the "Agincourt" on July 6, 1844, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia
  • W. Godfrey arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Elizabeth" in 1849
  • ...

Godfrey Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • Edward Lee Godfrey landed in Auckland, New Zealand in 1841
  • Henry Godfrey landed in Nelson, New Zealand in 1842 aboard the ship Geo Fife
  • Henry Godfrey, aged 17, a farm labourer, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "George Fyfe" in 1842
  • Henry Godfrey, aged 47, a ploughman, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Alma" in 1857
  • Antionette Godfrey arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Nimroud" in 1860
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  • Thomas Jefferson Godfrey (1831-1906), American politician, President Pro Tempore of the Ohio Senate 1868 to 1870
  • DeWitt Godfrey (b. 1960), American sculptor
  • Brigadier-General Stuart Chapin Godfrey (1886-1945), American Commanding Officer, Aviation Engineering Training Center, Geiger Field, Washington (1945)
  • Thomas Godfrey (1704-1749), American optician and inventor of the octant
  • Arthur Morton Godfrey (1903-1983), American Peabody Award winning radio and television broadcaster
  • Daniel Strong Godfrey (b. 1949), American composer
  • Tony William Godfrey (b. 1939), retired English footballer
  • Isidore Godfrey OBE (1900-1977), born Israel Gotfryd, English musical director of the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company from 1929 to 1968
  • Benjamin Matthew "Ben" Godfrey (b. 1998), English professional footballer
  • Tommy Godfrey (1916-1984), English film and television actor, known for Love Thy Neighbour (1972), The Great Muppet Caper (1981) and Resting Rough (1979)
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Godfrey Historic Events



HMS Prince of Wales

  • Mr. Philip Godfrey, British Petty Officer Telegraphist, who sailed in to battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and survived the sinking

HMS Repulse

  • Mr. George A Godfrey, British Engine Room Artificer 5th Class, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and survived the sinking
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The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Deus et libertas
Motto Translation: God and liberty.

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Citations



  1. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  2. ^ The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X)
  3. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.

Other References

  1. Holt, J.C. Ed. Domesday Studies. Woodbridge: Boydell, 1987. Print. (ISBN 0-85115-477-8).
  2. Skordas, Guest. Ed. The Early Settlers of Maryland an Index to Names or Immigrants Complied from Records of Land Patents 1633-1680 in the Hall of Records Annapolis, Maryland. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1968. Print.
  3. Library of Congress. American and English Genealogies in the Library of Congress. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1967. Print.
  4. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  5. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  6. Burke, John Bernard Ed. The Roll of Battle Abbey. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  7. Thirsk, Joan. The Agrarian History of England and Wales. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 7 Volumes. Print.
  8. Mills, A.D. Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4).
  9. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  10. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  11. ...

The Godfrey Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Godfrey Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 20 April 2016 at 08:43.

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